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Brown could have some key men back for Challenge Cup trip to Huddersfield
SAINTS boss Nathan Brown has not ruled out a return for scrum half Luke Walsh and strike centre Jordan Turner ahead of Sunday’s massive Challenge Cup fourth round trip to Huddersfield Giants.
The Saints boss said the club’s medical staff are working hard to get a number of sidelined players fit to play, but a final decision will only be taken later on in the week.
The only players definitely ruled out at this stage are teenage centre Mark Percival, long-term casualty Richard Beaumont and the still suspended Jon Wilkin.
However, the way the depleted team played in beating Leeds, and so maintaining the competition’s only unbeaten start to the year, takes off some of the urgency.
But Walsh, who was initially given a four-to-six weeks prognosis, would give an already buoyant team a massive lift going into the most important game of the season so far.
Huddersfield, Brown’s old team and the only side Saints failed to beat last term, are tough opponents – playing at something of bogey ground.
Brown anticipates a tough clash, but insisted past records count for little.
He said: “Last year was a bit of a different year. It is going to be a different team going there this time.
“We know Huddersfield have a lot of good quality players in there.
“They played well against Leeds and Wigan and have had a few top four finishes now, which you do not fluke.”
The way Saints played at the weekend has dispelled a lot of the pessimism going into this tough opening hurdle – and Brown’s men may even start as favourites now.
Brown is happy that the team is going to be bouncing into this game – in a competition Saints have not won since Daniel Anderson’s last season in 2008.
He knows there are no second chances – and that it is a long way to October for another bite at a prize.
He said: “The cup is the cup. You can have an off week in the league and still get to play the next week. The cup is different – you can’t have an off day day.
“I am happy to be going there with the team unbeaten. We have our fair share of injuries still, but to go there with a team with confidence in each other is better than going there losing.”
Brown revealed that Percival’s injury is worse than initially diagnosed.
“He picked up a bad virus and lost some weight too which gave him a setback recovering from his leg injury. He is going to be another three or four weeks away.
“With everyone else, the medical staff is trying to get them right to play. A lot are doing well – some are going to make it, others won’t. That is the reality of it,” he said.